Tucsonan Kathy Cooper has something to cluck about after winning Bashas’ Supermarkets’ Rotisserie Chicken Challenge.
As the statewide winner, she takes home a $500 Bashas’ gift card and gets one free rotisserie chicken every month for a year.
With a fridge stocked with miscellaneous foodstuffs, a few pre-cooked chickens and an abundance of spunk, Cooper had two days to come up with three recipes — chicken romaine lettuce boats, easy chicken pot pie and twice-baked chicken potatoes — to win the contest.
Why did you enter the contest?
“I like to make cooking videos and I have a cute little website and Facebook page and a YouTube channel, but I never entered a competition before. One of the women at work had seen the Bashas’ competition and she said, ‘You have to enter the contest.’ I looked it up, this is on a Friday afternoon and all the entries had to be in by Sunday midnight. I was driving home from work thinking I had to stop by Bashas’ and get a couple roasted chickens and I’m thinking, ‘What do I have at home that I can whip up recipes. The most time consuming part of the whole thing was taking photos. I wanted to get good photos. The pot pie, that’s one of my favorite things to make anyway and I knew it would be a pretty picture because of the biscuit topping.”
What is your goal when creating recipes?
“Probably the ultimate goal is for it to always be delicious, but I want it to look good or fun or cute or elegant or elaborate. The whole presentation is important, but I think my ultimate compliment is when people say, ‘This is the best I ever had.’
“For Thanksgiving, I bacon wrap a turkey and cook it on the grill — the charcoal grill. It’s the best thing ever. I made a cheesecake a few months ago and I almost didn’t want to eat it because it was so beautiful. I make creative cakes for my grandkids birthdays. I made a Lord of the Rings cake. If I’m making a creative cake, I can usually look at something and make it. They are definitely fun.”
Where did you get your interest in cooking?
“I started cooking when I was 11. I came home from school — my mom never liked cooking — she put a whole chicken in the sink and left a cookbook. She said, ‘If you can read, you can cook.’ I remember cutting this whole chicken up by myself. I would never let my kids do that. After that, I cooked every single day until I was 18, so I developed a passion for cooking. I try cooking healthy stuff. People are more attracted to recipes with bacon and cheese in them than they are healthy things.”
Do you have something you haven’t tried yet but you want to make?
“I don’t know if I would venture into turducken, but maybe. That’s a chicken in a duck in a turkey. Somebody sent me a picture of a pie inside of a cake and I would try that. Another one of my favorites is cupcakes with a cookie in the middle. I put cookie dough into the bottom of the cupcake paper and then just pour cake batter into the cupcake tin and put it in the oven for half the amount of time you would for cupcakes because there’s a cookie in there and the cookie bakes into the cupcake. Thanksgiving is bacon-wrapped turkey with cookie cupcakes.”